The Supreme Court is incensed by frivolous petitions for judicial review; the CJI-led bench imposes severe penalties for ‘abuse of process’

Today, a Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud dismissed four consecutive Public Interest Litigations (PILs) and strongly condemned “abuse of process” before the Supreme Court. The PILs were assigned to a bench consisting of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha.

By dismissing the aforementioned PILs, which were consecutive, the Chief Justice accentuated the importance of judicious use of the court’s time and discouraged the filing of PILs without a genuine public interest or legal basis.

The initial PIL, submitted by a law student, argued that “male” pronouns in constitutional provisions violated fundamental rights. Visibly exasperated, CJI Chandrachud questioned the petitioner’s heritage and suggested they should have pursued a legal education rather than filing such PILs. CJI DY Chandrachud said-

Why didn’t you attend law school instead of bringing such PILs with you?

The court dismissed the PIL while pondering how the petitioner’s fundamental rights were violated. Further expressing his displeasure with such FILs, the CJI added that he would have imposed costs on the petitioner if he had not been a law student. CJI lamented, “We should start imposing costs immediately because our time is being wasted.”

Next, the court addressed a PIL requesting the formulation of a caste system reclassification policy. CJI Chandrachud characterised this PIL as another instance of court process abuse.

He ordered the petitioner to pay Rs 25,000 in court costs to the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and emphasised the need to discourage frivolous petitions by doing so. The deadline for the petitioner to submit a receipt as evidence of payment was set at two weeks.

Similarly, a PIL advocating for the progressive elimination of reservations and implementing an alternative reservation policy was summarily rejected. CJI Chandrachud disapproved of the PIL, describing it as another instance of process abuse. The petitioner was ordered to pay the SCBA costs totalling Rs 25,000.

The court also dismissed a second PIL that challenged certain sections of the Hindu Succession Act of 1956.

These are personal laws dealing with inheritance, and we cannot hear them without context here,” the CJI remarked.

Throughout the proceedings, CJI Chandrachud stressed the significance of judicious use of the court’s time and discouraged the submission of PILs that lacked a genuine public interest or legal basis.

 

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